Wiregrass Newsroom: Downtown Restaurant Opening Soon

Dothan, AL (WSFA)-- It's the sound of progress at D'Monico's Italian Gardens, with people gathering and music playing.  And it's all to celebrate a re-birth in this once bleak area of downtown Dothan.

"It gives us our heart back," says Dothan Mayor, Pat Thomas.

But getting that heart back in these tough economic times could be rather difficult.

However, facing a slumping economy isn't stopping Nick Nitkowski from sharing Italian cuisine with people hungry for positive change.

"It's something that's new to the people of Dothan and I think they will really like it. I would rather come in when the economic values are down. We want to already be in place when the economy recovers," says Nitkowski.

D'Monico's is one of seven new restaurants that will be opening in the downtown area. And those seven restaurants are part of 22 new businesses that are already committed to opening in historic downtown.

And with small businesses sprouting up, the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce is here to help.

"We have the Small Business Development Center that comes here monthly and meets with existing business and entrepreneurs out there to go over business planning, to get the kind of counseling and assisting they need to stay competitive in their market," says Matt Parker, President of the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce.

And Dothan's Mayor, Pat Thomas is confident that if the business is built, the people will come.

"From what I've seen living in Dothan all my life, if you put a good product in front of Dothan citizens and Wiregrass citizens, they'll reward you. They'll reward you with their business," says Thomas.

A reward that for Nick, far outweighs the obstacles today's economy may bring.

Reporter: Melissa McKinney